About this Show

Washington Journal

News/Business. Journalists and policy-makers take viewer questions; newspaper articles.

NETWORK

DURATION
03:00:00

RATING

SCANNED IN

SOURCE

TUNER

VIDEO CODEC
mpeg2video

AUDIO CODEC
ac3

PIXEL WIDTH
704

PIXEL HEIGHT
480

TOPIC FREQUENCY

Vietnam 36, Us 35, Biden 26, Israel 22, U.s. 19, Ben Bernanke 17, Washington 17, Joe Biden 14, United States 13, Obama 9, America 9, Pakistan 9, Iraq 8, Dick Cheney 6, Yemen 6, Texas 5, New York 5, Europe 5, John Newman 5, James Traub 5,
Borrow a DVD
of this show
  CSPAN    Washington Journal    News/Business. Journalists and  
   policy-makers take viewer questions; newspaper articles.  

    January 4, 2010
    7:00 - 10:00am EST  

7:00am
"washington journal" is next. . . host: we will show you some of the comments this morning.
7:01am
we will ask you about whether more regulation is needed to prevent financial excess. the numbers to call, for democrats, 202-737-0002. for republicans, 202-737-0001. for independents, 202-628-0205. make sure that you turn down your television or radio when you call in. if you have called in within the last 30 days, give others a chance to call this morning. you can also send us an e-mail or contact
7:02am
7:03am
enforce those regulations on the books. off of the subject a little bit, i wish to those republicans would have their sons and granddaughters in the marine corps. host: marion, illinois. you are next. ben bernanke urges prevention of crisis. we will show you some of his comments from sunday when he spoke at an annual meeting for the academic economics annual meeting association. open-" policy -- "policy was at best for home prices.
7:04am
for one thing, there were many home price bubbles in many parts of the world. new zealand and sweden had tighter monetary policy, yet their home prices rose a more." marion, illinois. good morning. republican line. welcome. caller: good morning. i wanted to comment on the people instead of the politicians this morning. the fighting that we do between the democrats and republicans are whether the system works off of our attitude. the country has got a bad attitude. we can change that. we can change the direction we are going just by get along and quitting our fighting, cussing, and arguing, like them -- like politicians do. any comment on that? hosed though i do not have any
7:05am
comment, but thank you for yours -- host: i do not have any comment, but thank you for yours. eureka, california. good morning. caller: good morning. i do not understand why they put restrictions on spending. i do not agree with china, but the bankers over there, i believe that they shot five of them. i do not know why we have not prosecuted any of these people for the crimes they have committed. i will take my comment of the air. host: thank you for your input. pittsfield, new hampshire. republican mind. what are your thoughts? caller: my thoughts are that we are regulated to death. i am widowed in 79 years old.
7:06am
i have almost always voted republican. we have too many controls. look at what happened with the man on the airplane. who did the work? not someone from the government. the government does nothing, they make no money, and believe me -- i was born in 1930. i know what is to pinch. that is why i can live today. my husband died eight years ago. i am still in the house that i was when we got married. i earn a lot from my in-laws. the less regulation, the better. my mother was born in 1898 and she thought that roosevelt was god. when i got older and got some sense, i voted for goldwater.
7:07am
he came to its field. that was the time of the republicans. host: he came there during the campaign in 1964? caller: yes, yes, yes, he came to pittsfield. reagan came to pittsfield. went to the fire station. her is another man that told it like it was. you are all afraid of everything. everyone is afraid. host: let me ask you about the housing situation there. you are ok with your house. what about your neighbors? caller: they are ok. the problem is that nobody cares about gas. look at the kids. if you can buy something, you have got to pay for it. c'mon, let's get it. host: thank you for joining us this morning. our topic for the next 40
7:08am
minutes is ben bernanke, the fed share. -- safed it share -- the fed chair. this was a speech that he gave yesterday in atlanta. open-" this year's meeting has been dominated by debate and causes and consequences of the crisis. while many economists here believe a recovery is under way, they're also worried." wayne, democratic line. what you think? is more regulation needed to prevent these excesses'? caller: i believe that that is true.
7:09am
the republican model for government does not work. the first thing that they do when they come to power is circumvent the government, to put people in charge of different offices of the government, who previously were lobbying for the corporations to lessen their ability to regulate. that is the path of the bush era. unfortunately, probably through the clinton era. it was just everything was all the different offices of the government and the rows of the government's -- pierrot's -- burreaus of the government
7:10am
was not to make them work for the people. and the people got screwed up big time. host: getting a look at the new open-" washington times -- look at the new " washington times -- new "washington times." late last week with a radically revamped their editorial stamp. they will be a newspaper that focuses on general news and politics, local, regional, and national economic issues. they are focusing on two sections. the main section here, and here they have their commentary, and expanded commentary section in "the washington times." leading with comments from new gingrich, pete ferraro, and john
7:11am
bolton, who wrote this morning open-" the critical -- this morning "as the president learned anything during his first year -- has the president learned anything during his first year? plo is not promising. too often, mr. obama seems either uninterested in the global threats we face, and persuaded that the current -- that they constitute dangers to the country." virginia, gary, your thoughts on ben bernanke and regulation on the part of the fed? caller: thank you very much, i really appreciate you taking my call. i had to use every gray sell that i had to try to understand ben bernanke last night. i was listening to him on the radio talking about that
7:12am
regulation. i agree with him. i still got a headache. it just packed my brain. i really had a hard time. it is complicated and complex. another thing that i have to say that i think is important, our uso shows in iraq and afghanistan, i was watching them last year. they were making vulgar, juvenile jokes about the middle eastern women in their culture. host: but shows are you referring to? caller: the uso shows we were putting on. i was watching the pentagon channel. host: is that where you can see
7:13am
them? ok. caller: i was really appalled. i was raised overseas. i went to uso shows. we used to have officials and local nationals, an indigenous personnel from that country. just to hear the jokes that those comedians were making, if i was a base commander i would have had the mp's drag those people off stage. this was appalling. we are trying to win friends? hearts and minds? it was a disgrace. host: thank you for your input this morning. open-" the wall street journal" -- "the wall street journal" opened with a separate story, " al qaeda threat escalates." "recent and rare on-camera threats were made against u.s.
7:14am
targets by two masked al qaeda representatives in yemen. the threatening remarks saying that their fight was with that the u.s. and not the yemeni government." those embassies, we understand, still closed this morning. keith, democratic line. we are talking this morning about ben bernanke and the role of financial regulation. caller: regulation is needed, but at the same time we need to teach our children how to manage their finances. those regulations do not mean nothing. we will be right back into the same thing. host: what is the one most important thing that you teach your children about finances? caller: basically how to pay your regular bills on time.
7:15am
how to manage a bank account and put money away just in case hard times come around. that is the best thing that we could do as american people. host: thank you for calling in, keith. the front page of open-" the philadelphia inquirer" -- of "the philadelphia inquirer" says open-" fed chief says to boost -- "fed chief says to boost." caller: here is what we need to rein in. we need to rein in the fed. what did ben bernanke do with all of the trillions that he made out of thin air? host: thank you. ben bernanke was speaking in atlanta last night about financial regulation and about what led to the explosion in the housing market. here is what he had to say.
7:16am
>> at some point lenders and borrowers became convinced that house prices would only go up. borrowers shows and were extended mortgages that they would not be able to service in the longer term. they were provided these homes based on the notion that refinancing would allow them to manage a more sustainable blown given increasing prices. this description suggests that regulatory and supervisory policies, rather than monetary policies, would have been a more effective means in addressing the run-up in house prices. host: we were treated to one of the many charts that he used last night in his speech. tom, of pittsburgh, pennsylvania. good morning. caller: thank you for taking my call. before stating my concern relative to ben bernanke and his
7:17am
predecessor, john bolten is hardly someone that you would want to quote. his self-interest are well-known and he is an anti-american salad. he has no credibility at all most knowledgeable americans. but we live in a capitalistic society. capital being cash money. ben bernanke, alan greenspan, the bankers that control our economy, they have very little interest in pursuing a policy that is advantageous to the american people. they are about using large sums of money to wield little influence. and the apathy and the lethargy that the american people are attacking this issue with, they seem more concerned with football scores an irrelevancy
7:18am
that the mass media puts in front of them to distract them. the only way that we are going to get this country back from hardened criminals is to vote out of office every one of these fake people that sit in the house and senate, controlling the interests of the 2% that handle 90% of our wealth her. most of your calls up to 7:45 eastern or so of -- host: your calls up to 7:45 eastern or so. ben bernanke passed to the banking committee late in december and will face a vote in the full senate later this month. "the financial times" writes about which direction the fed is going this year. open-" this year -- "this year
7:19am
the fed will see fighting for its vision of regulation reform, closely allied to that of the obama administration, which is under threat in congress as some legislators seem to diminish the central bank's role in supervision of financial institutions and said that the sweeping audits. mr. burning he said that there was little evidence that low interest rates had been a large contributor to the housing bubble, one of the charges made by the obama administration." next caller. caller: we have got to limit regulators. once we limit regulators, the power of the people are destroyed. the people are the government. when you deregulate or term- limit representatives, you take away the knowledge and experience of the position and you fill the void with lobbyists. those two things are wrong to do. since when has the president's
7:20am
job been to create jobs. if the president was required to create jobs, they would be government jobs. every individual that loses their job wants to blame the president for employment. blame, bill. enjoy your day. host: you do the same. let's see -- more regulation control and confirmation from a controlled party? yes, it was lack of regulation. from business news this morning , open-" said a late surge in car sales before 2010 -- this morning, "a late surge in car sales before 2010, marking the second best month of 2009 after august, which received a major jolt from the cash for clunkers
7:21am
government rebate program." also this morning a story about the world's tallest building. "amid a crisis, dubai is opening up the tallest tower after the city seeks to revitalize their economies after a debt crisis in 2009 that forced them to turn to of the body for help. the government hopes that the unveiling of the structure is going to pierce the cloud that has lingered over the clouds since december, when it received a second $10 billion bailout loan from of dhabi, after some creditors abandoned due by." that is from this morning's world section of "of the washington post." -- section of "the washington post." next caller.
7:22am
caller: happy new year. one thing that was not on the books, after years of people trying to get attention, they did not even enforce the rules on the books. when you come to the housing crisis the most disturbing thing is that people were led into second mortgages that they could not afford to pay and they wound up losing their house. i thought that was an error on the part of lending. it is very unfortunate when a person's income does not allow them to get this large extra amount of financing on their house and they cannot afford it. host: darrow, republican line. your thoughts? caller: that gentleman that called about apathy, he needs money to know that. i cannot believe that ben bernanke is complaining about
7:23am
regulations for mortgages when 1994 as a mortgage regulation act, the fed was given the power and they did nothing. no. 3, ben bernanke reminds me of the governor of texas, in that movie, open-" this -- in the movie, "of the biggest little whorehouse in texas." -- in the movie, "the biggest little whorehouse in texas." host: from "the new york times" "the argument is that the chief lending by banks led to the recession after 2001." next caller, what is out? caller: good morning. i am seriously questioning
7:24am
whether ben bernanke's statements are worth heeding. i have been listening to the comments prior to my own. the gentleman before me referenced 1994. he was at princeton in 1994, ben bernanke had nothing to do with the federal reserve. i think that he hit the nail on the head. the banking community right now is spending millions of dollars. never mind the problems that they created in a willy-nilly participated in -- they created and willy-nilly participated in. he needs to push harder against a lobbyist for the banking
7:25am
industry who are doing -- he needs to push harder against the lobbyists for the banking industry to help prevent bubbles in the future. host: ben bernanke was speaking last night about financial regulation in the past, as congress prepares the financial regulation package between the two bodies. he said that he had this to say about the role between regulators last night. >> the role of entering the housing market to bid for properties was not general short-term interest rates, but the increasing use of more exotic types of mortgages in the associated prime underwriting standards. the conclusion suggests that the best response to the housing bubble would have been regulatory rather than monetary. strong supervision aimed at problems with underwriting
7:26am
practices and lenders with risk- management would have been a more effective approach to constraining the housing bubble then a general increase in interest rates. moreover, regulating supervisors in the private sector would have been more effectively address without necessarily having to make a judgment about sustainability of house price increases. host: the fed chairman, ben bernanke, talking about housing last night in atlanta. "the washington post" this morning talks about the role of fannie mae and freddie mac. open-" the obama administration has promised -- "the obama administration has promised to rollout new ideas for fannie and freddie this year. a liberal think tank with ties to the administration has proposed new entities called
7:27am
charter mortgage-backed securities, a privately owned firms that would package mortgages into securities and sell them with an explicit federal guaranteed. securitization fees would go into an insurance fund to protect taxpayers against defaults." this is a editorial this morning from "the washington post." open-" this proposal grapples with the fundamental problem -- "this proposal grapples with the fundamental problem of the old fannie and freddie -- an immediate an implicit government guarantee permitted, then cheap access to bar of funds, which they gambled in pursuit of maximum returns to shareholders. it also wisely emphasizes that the new organization's was held rebalance federal support between rental housing and single-family homes. this seems not only risky, but redundant given the federal housing administration's support
7:28am
for home buyers of modest means ." friendship, maine. bill, an abandoned mine. go ahead. caller: -- bill, independent line. go ahead. caller: this is merely a smokescreen to ask to excuse what they're doing by design. how are people with no jobs going to afford anything with that the inflation that we have coming? i have to say, i am 59 years old. i cannot fault someone who is 44 that does not know about the sinister founding of the fed, which is private and 80% owned by foreigners. how can we have someone establishing monetary policy and look at their success so far that is foreign owned? we are americans. my generation -- i cannot go
7:29am
back to sleep. to the younger folks, get a grip on this. these people are taking over your country. they have been working on it for 100 years. the organizations in great britain are part of the same cobol of people. if you think they are out for your benefit, think again. take in the tory. host: thank you for the call. the flight 53 incident from last week is still having an effect, tsa has more screening bound for the u.s.. in "the hill" open-" senator
7:30am
schumer penalizes -- "senator schumer penalizes airports and u.s.-based airlines should threaten not to fly to them in order to send a strong message, adding "you do not have to be albert einstein to realize that flights from foreign countries pose a greater danger." cincinnati, good morning. gregg, republican line. the role of the fed in financial markets. go ahead. good morning. caller: i wanted to make a couple of comments. regulation in the financial sector and in the united states is well known. typically the problem is some kind of oversight, even the
7:31am
attempted bomber on christmas and the national security problems we have had for the last few years. regulation that is required or needed to be overlooked -- needed could be overlooked. thank you. host: the vice chairman of the fed spoke at the conference in atlanta. in "the financial times" they reported, "the fed has been working internally for months on how, when the time comes, they would put an end to the exceptionally loose monetary policy adopted since 2008. that exit strategy is delicate for economic reasons, not least
7:32am
the $100 billion in excess reserves formed by the fed's massive increase to the size of its balance sheet. the fed has taken pains to emphasize that the proof -- preparation does not indicate an imminent change in strategy, as recover -- recovery remains anemic." md., -- excuse me, california. democratic line. gary. hello there. caller: basically what i believe is that this is simpler and i wanted to touch on something, historic leading interest rates for mortgages have been 6% over the last 60 years or seven years. -- 60 years or 70 years. adjustable rate mortgages were always a gamble, hoping that the
7:33am
rate would go down. i was fortunate enough to be in that situation. the adjustable rate mortgage has been the most common loan out there. people and lenders were promising people that houses were going up. they would take a risk of getting an adjustable-rate loan, and the rates would actually be going down. but the lenders were increasing the mortgages. therefore, people were losing their houses. as they exited the depression to stabilize the housing market, now they have a fixed rate 30- year low on homes on the market, rejecting by year's -- buyers that have fixed, fha,
7:34am
said the loans. host: what is the reasoning behind that -- fha, steady loans. host: what is the reasoning behind that, do you think? caller: these efforts were great programs that got us out of the depression. these lenders that own these homes really need to extend these good borrowers. host: go ahead. caller: everyone says that 0% down is bad. it is not bad. the only problem is the adjustable-rate loan. they are raising the rates when the rates are going down and people are losing their houses. host: thank you for the call. massachusetts, republican line. caller: the thing is, remember
7:35am
the savings and loan? regulators told us about that. the keating five overrode them. we had clinton with whitewater. that is what happens when regulators overturn the congress in government. new york city, rent-controlled in 1973. owners could not raise the rent because of new york city re leaders. hence the bronx was burning. -- because of new york city regulators. hence the bronx was burning. host: ready to ramp up security on u.s. found air travel, we have a look at that as we report this story -- "yemeni forces have killed the two al qaeda
7:36am
militants." the morning, go ahead. caller: my opinion on regulation as opposed to the interest rates is that regulation is something that is done more for the people. it would present more intelligent scraping of the american people's pocketbooks. if they raise the interest rate, it would always put more money in the pockets of the bankers who have grossly profited from the banking crisis. the other point i would like to make is that i really like your program, but i would like to see more than people being able to vent about the issues of the world and it might be a great idea to give people more tools and the direction in which way to go in order to make the change.
7:37am
host: interesting comment. how would you do that? you have the floor. how would you suggest people that call in use these tools? caller: what i am asking you, as a news station, is that you must have access to information or organizations that could point people in a direction where they could become more involved, as opposed to making a phone call inventing. that there is actually -- making a phone call and venting. there is actually a thing to you can do. host: this speech is available, the one from ben bernanke, online at c-span.org. he had a lot to say about the will of the fed. >> the federal reserve is
7:38am
working not only to identify the problems in financial institutions, but also to move from an institution by institutions supervisory approach to one that is dependent on the financial institution as a whole. toward that end, we are supplementing reviews from individual firms with comparative evaluations in cross firms with firms and markets. we are sure to strengthen our commitment to consumer protection, strongly advocating financial regulatory reforms, like the creation of a systemic risk council, that will reorient the zero structure in this country. leverage in liquidity must be a valid deleted from a system wide perspective, -- leverage and liquidity must be evaluated from a system wide perspective. host: good morning, bob, on the
7:39am
democratic line. st. louis. caller: yes, we do not need regulations. we need jail terms. we need these people out. we need to get rid of the federal reserve. i do not understand why most of the money that bernie made of soul went to israel. -- bernie made of -- bernie madoff stole went to israel. the federal reserve is nothing but a ponzi scheme. we need to round them up and send them back to israel. they are all jewish, are they not? host: joe, republican line. caller: i hear a lot of these callers blaming the government for this problem. they are to blame and there is no doubt about it. individual people are just as much to blame. they did not budget. they thought that housing would
7:40am
always go up. they told their congressmen that they wanted no money down home loans. they do all of these things and they blame it on someone else. but the problem is that everyone is blaming everyone else nowadays. if i was a bank, i would look at the typical attitude conveyed by your callers and say -- heck with it. they would be blamed for being a racist or whenever. host: 5 more minutes on the role of federal regulations, preventing crisises. the house is back on tuesday, on january 12. the senate returns on the 20 at the january. new republicans reporting on line this morning, boarding a
7:41am
"with both houses having passed health care reform, democrats simply need to work out a compromise between the versions. it appears that they are not going to let republicans gum up the works again did. according to a pair of senior capitol hill staffers, one from each chamber, house and senate democrats are almost certain to negotiate informally rather than convene a formal conference committee." next caller, go ahead. caller: i heard that they're going up by $1 on everything that they can. they are going to sock it to us. anyway that they can. i would like to revisit iraq. on the subject of the kbr, where the soldiers were sickened by the liquid that was coming out when they were cleaning up the water over there.
7:42am
two, i would like to revisit amy johnson being raped over there, plus all the other women raped by the ceo's under the company of one of dick cheney affiliate's -- dick cheney's affiliate's. -- affiliates. they are not investing in protective of vehicles and one bit. let's have a network, our soldiers are coming back, sickened by cancer or other things. host: thank you for your call this morning. one more from "the wall street journal." open-" two main political parties in the u.k., kicking off
7:43am
a busy election year, each showing themselves off as a party that will defend public services -- even as the u.k. tackles its record public debt. prime minister gordon brown is expected to call elections in many and what is seen as the most dramatic uk vote since the labor party swept to power in 1997." one more call on the fed from mount olive, mississippi. good morning. caller: good morning, bill. happy new year. i would like to comment that congress has a responsibility to regulate the value of our money. that is the biggest problem that we have got. the federal reserve, they are not even supposed to be a federal reserve. we have got a problem with an imbalance in prices, we farmers
7:44am
are not receiving what we are supposed to be receiving. that is a big problem in the economy of the united states. the financial economy has gone through the roof. the only thing that will correct it is to go back to constitutional money. host: thank you for your comments as we turn our direction to afghanistan and homeland security with michael scheuer, former head of the osama bin laden unit in the cia. he will join us for 45 minutes in just a moment. we will be right back. ♪
7:45am
>> there is less than one month left to enter c-span's 2010 studentscam contest. just create a five minute to 8 minute video on one of our country's greatest strengths or a challenge that we are facing. it must incorporate c-span programming and show challenging points of view. do not wait another minute, go to c-span.org for contest rules and information. >> american icons, original documentaries from c-span, now available on tv. and i on a journey on the three homes of the american government. go beyond the velvet ropes and public tours of the white house. explore the history, art, and
7:46am
architecture of the capital. american icons, a three disk be the set. $24.95, plus shipping and handling. one of the many items available at c-span.org/store. now available, c-span's book, "abraham lincoln: 16 historians on a great american president." from his early years to his life in the white house and his relevance today, in hardcover at your favorite bookseller. now in digital audio to listen to any time, available wherever digital download are sold. learn more at c-span.org. >> "washington journal" continues. host: michael scheuer founded the cia counter-terrorism center, the osama bin laden unit, in 1996.
7:47am
here to talk to us this morning about terrorism in the wake of the flight 253 incident. overall, what do we know about the strength of al qaeda as compared to 9/11? even before that, in 1996? guest: they have a much larger geographical reach than they did originally. they have a functioning wing in yemen, one in fourth africa, and even somalia and north africa. -- north africa, and even somalia. on the face of it, it seems that they are wrong in reporting that they have not expanded. host: we see reports about what we are doing to prevent people from entering. we read about and see the launches of creditor drones
7:48am
against al qaeda operatives. what are we not doing that we should be doing? guest: what we have seen is definitive proof that there is such a thing, on any topic, that killing these people one at a time is not sufficient. it was not sufficient in 1995 and is far less so now, as there are so many people in the muslim world that are mad at america. very few muslims hate americans for being americans. in terms of airports, the watch word is not a silver bullet. if anything, this gentleman in detroit was a rank amateur. had he been a professional, it would not have the nabobs of job. for americans to somehow think that we have a great system to protect them, i think that is
7:49am
wrong. i think sometimes i wonder why we spend so much attention on the aircraft and system when we have 3000 or 4,000 miles of open sea borders. host: going back to your comment from a moment ago about the u.s. killing al qaeda one of the time, what should we do, does that mean a bigger military presence in places like yemen? guest: we are at the drawing board. we have not progressed since 9/11. we are fighting an enemy that basically does not exist. the american people, for the last four presidents, continued to tell americans that we are fighting an enemy that is motivated by hatred for freedom and our liberties. women in the workplace. liquor after the work day.
7:50am
therefore, there are a fanatic, a limited number of folks. nothing could be further far -- from the truth. host: what are they motivated by? guest: our foreign policy. we have supported dictators. we have supported the police state of saudi arabia that governs a jordan, egypt, and algeria. we give unqualified support to the israelis. these other motivations of the enemy. this is not to say that those policies are wrong. we all have our own opinions on that. certainly i would move to change some of them. but the idea that you do not recognize what your enemies motivation is for political reasons, you will never be read on who you are fighting. host: yemeni leadership, in the
7:51am
cross hairs of al qaeda -- that was from this morning's "washington times." there is a vacuum if we do not support, but you are saying that one of the reasons that al qaeda is fighting there is this? guest: they are an unusual enemy, often when we do something, it is win-win for them. for example, we did not have an airplane explode on christmas day. but 80% of what they were aiming for was successful. they terrorized the american people, seized the air-traffic system, causing the united states to spend much more money on screening and personnel. suggesting again to the american people that their government cannot protect them. these are choices between bad actions. host: let's hear from one of the
7:52am
callers. ernest, good morning. independent line. caller: sir, i want to find out if you are one of the good cia guys. you say we are not -- you say that we are fighting an enemy that does not exist. al qaeda is a name that we gave them, they did not give it to themselves. i do not know how in tune you are with the last attempt of a terrorist attack. could you explain to the people what a false flag operation is? then i would like to know this -- during the reporting of the past terrorist attack, eyewitness accounts have been suppressed. we are talking about the well- dressed gentleman that helped the accused hijacker or bomber to get on the plane, past
7:53am
security, by passing it all with no passport, no identification, no visa. we are talking about the gentleman that was on the flight the entire time. host: michael scheuer? guest: i do not know how the idea has grown that there is no such thing as al qaeda. there was -- they are an organization that formed in 1988. it is a sophisticated organization and to say that it does not exist is mostly in the realm of the social scientists that would like to define the problem away rather than confront it. host: you wrote last week that the obama prescription for defeating al qaeda maintains continuity with of the failed and stubbornly ignore an approach that washington has stubbornly adhered to since
7:54am
1996. what is the failed approach? guest: maintaining that these are an isolated and small number of people in the muslim world, they have hijacked islam. that is not true. polls show that 80% of the world's muslims agree with the osama bin laden in his view that american foreign policy is an attack on their faith. even a small portion of that is a lot of people for americans to be fighting. host: with numbers like that, how can any administration have affected partners in places like saudi arabia? guest: they can be. we want to believe that we have
7:55am
an effective partners, but the reality is that those governments need to pay fealty to the muslims fighting the united states. those same muslims threaten their stability. host: mclean, virginia. republican line. go ahead. caller: first of all, i have seen you lecture at fort bragg before the house arms committee. i agree with everything you have said in each form. my question to you, when is the intelligence community going to start coordinating with each other? i was a former counter-terrorism intelligence officer until six weeks ago. i was arrested on september 14, 2009, because i was provided a user name and password to individual in the intelligence
7:56am
community not widely known in the united states. to make it simple, i dreaded of the judicial branch's monitoring of this individual -- treaded on the judicial branch's monitoring of this individual. when is the nsa billing to coordinate with the judicial branch, i.e. fbi? guest: i do not know what the answer is to that. i know that unfortunately the intelligence reform bills pushed through the congress, very few congressmen actually read it. it expanded the intelligence community from 16 units to 18 units. as a result it has created a greater bureaucracy. we still have computer systems that are not shared across the system. i am told that we sometimes have three or four different cpu's
7:57am
under their desks in order to have contact with different agencies. personally i think that nothing short of another attack on the united states is going to move us off dead center. the bureaucratic lethargy is extraordinary in this government. leadership from past presidents has been uninspiring. host: good morning, next caller. caller: how can we as americans stop someone who is willing to blow themselves up and others? how can we stop that? thank you. guest: i do not think that there is a way to stop it with any kind of 100% sure this. one way to stop it is to decrease the motivation of those people that attack us. until we are willing to recognize what the basis of their motivation is, things like support for israel, the saudi
7:58am
arabian police state, we will not be able to decrease them. the number of people willing to do this will increase over time. ultimately we need to find a way to dissuade them from focusing their anger on us and persuade them to focus their anger on of what they, themselves, believe is the enemy. the governments that oppress them in israel. -- and israel. host: last week "the washington times" wrote about a couple that was sent to a saudi rehabilitation program, that used dialogue and art therapy to rehabilitate the militants. 85 of the most wanted work released, 11 were graduates of that program. yesterday, the president of the counter-terrorism direction,
7:59am
reporting "obama moving ahead with repatriation of yemeni prisoners." he made the comment that the administration policy would not have changed -- i wanted to play this for you. i wanted to get your thoughts. >> let's get this into context. during this administration we transferred 42. seven of those have gone back to yemen. the first one went a few weeks ago. we have had close dialogue with the yemeni government about the expectations that we have as far as what they are supposed to do. several of those detainees were put into yemeni custody right away. we are trying to do this in a very measured fashion. the guantanamo facility must be closed. we are determined to close it. we are not going to do anything that is going to put american security and rest.
8:00am
working closely with the yemeni government, we are looking at the detainee's and we are going to take the right steps above we will lead to anything to put americans at risk. host: has the release of those prisoners been a success? guest: certainly, it has not. first, this idea that he raised the guantanamo has been a propaganda victory for al qaeda is nonsense. how can you compare guantanamo to prisons that are run by the algerian generals? certainly the muslim world does not like guantanamo, but to think that that is a major grievance is wrong. mr. obama is closing guantanamo because it pleases the europeans and it pleases the left wing of his party. there is no other possible reason than that. in terms of releasing these people to these rehabilitation programs of the arab government, saudis, yemeni, they
8:01am
have all worked very hard since 9/11 to insulate themselves from criticism after the next attack on the united states. .
8:02am
i am tired of all these people pointing counties. and the other stations, pushing us to go to war with the muslim friends. they are willing to spend the last drop of american blood and treasure to get their way in the world. they have too much power in this country. people like wolfowitz, the other neocons, that brought us into iraq, and now we are going to spend 60 years rehabilitating our soldiers. host: any comment? guest: of course, american policy is up to the american people. one thing we have not discussed is our policy toward the israelis. whether we want to be involved in fighting in their wars in the future is something americans should be able to talk about.
8:03am
they may vote yes. but the question is we need to talk about it. ultimately, is real is a country of no strategic worth to the u.s. they have no resources we need, their manpower is minimal. their association with us is a negative for the indicted states. that is a fact, and what you want to do about that is different. for anyone to say that our support does not hurt us in the muslim world is to justify a reality. host: richard on the republican line. good morning. caller: i would like to hear an answer to the first caller.
8:04am
that well-dressed man brought that person up to the counter without a passport. him and his wife are lawyers. host: you are breaking up a little bit, richard. michael, have you heard about this? guest: the man came from a rich family. it could have been a diplomat assisting him. i do not have the answer to that. host: john brennan was asked about this attempt to try him in courts as opposed to a military tribunal. this is what he had to say. >> we have an array of tools and we want to make sure we maintain flexibility in how we deal with
8:05am
individuals. he was arrested on u.s. soil in detroit. he was talking to people. there were people arrested in the previous administration -- richard reid, moussaoui, and others -- all of which were charged and sentenced to life in prison. just because someone is put through the legal process does not mean that we do not have other opportunities to get information from them. >> after abdulmutallab got lawyered up, did he stop talking? >> we got information and we continue to have opportunities to do that. as you come to the individuals and they recognize what they are facing, there are opportunities
8:06am
to talk about it. the fbi has some of the best interrogators in the world. i am confident that we will be able to work the system. he knows there are sort of things on the table. if he wants to engage with us, there are ways to do that. >> we still have the right to treat him as an enemy combatant. why not continue to do that? if he has information about future attacks, does the president not have the responsibility to do whatever is necessary to get that? >> in this instance, we felt like this was the best way to go about the case. we will proceed accordingly with each case. guest: i think the courts are a
8:07am
useful, peripheral toll on this war against terrorism, but the point is, mr. abdulmutallab was a war prisoner. he should not be in the courts. first of all, he can never be found innocent. the problem with using the american courts is some may expect them to be found innocent. the system is fair, they would be found innocent. he will never be found innocent. it will just make average additional system look more "fixed" to our opponents. the answer is continuing enemy combatant treatment. host: how much information can
8:08am
be learned from this man? >> it depends -- guest: it depends on the individual, however, i know in my own experience, we got very good intelligence from some of the most senior people. to forgo that on the basis of ideology, that people are -- that these people are in law enforcement problem, is probably this advantageous. host: next phone call. caller: good morning. my name is linda. i respect what you are saying, sir. you said american government policies have brought about so
8:09am
much hatred against the american people, and the government is possible for the war in iraq, the illegal war in afghanistan. bin laden is not in afghanistan. many of the people present in guantanamo without any due process were innocent. how would you feel if you were in prison with no charges, no proof of guilt, for six years? that create more hatred toward this country. basically, it all goes to oil. correct me if i am wrong, but the way i see it, when they
8:10am
started bringing will over in the 1900's, we started mocking -- mucking around in their business. no wonder they hate us. i think it is misdirected to warn innocent people, but look at me did to the native americans when we came to the country? . host: thank you. guest: i think the answer is to treat these people as prisoners of war. people do not have uniforms on, but clearly, these people do not have the right to be put through a legal system. it is detrimental to our interests. i agree that ultimately will is
8:11am
one key to getting us out of the middle east. if we had done something 40 years ago when the oil embargo was imposed, we would not need to support the tyrannies that govern the arab peninsula. if we were not supporting certain areas, we would have much less animosity from the arab man in the street today. host: you said there was little reason for a farmer support for israel, but could you say the same for countries in europe? the fact that they are democracies, fledgling democracies in some case, is that not a strategic element for the united states? guest: i think that is a
8:12am
fallacy. what does it matter if a country is a democracy or not? as long as we protect our democracy to the best of our ability, who cares? why should we be committed to war if the russians move against bulgaria? why should we care about that? israel is not the only country that we are committed to with blood and treasure, in a way that is not in america's interests. host: harvey on twitter writes -- is there a saudi and in any of this? guest: i do not know but they are probably the most dangerous government to the united states.
8:13am
they are one of the most powerful lobbies in washington. the idea that somehow we are the boss and that relationship is incorrect. when i was running operations against the usama bin laden, they continually refused to help us. they do not mind terrorism as long as it does not happen in the kingdom. the final point i would make it they pay for an enormous amount of proselytizing in the united states. they train and send preachers from saudi arabia, and they preach a brand of islam that is far more anti-western than anything usama bin laden stands for. host: carl from berkeley,
8:14am
california. republican line. guest: i think if barack obama would give him a call, he could get a lot of information on how the terrorists work. i agree with just about everything your guest hess said. -- has said. if you were still working for the cia, would you not hire the best lawyers you could find to protect yourself against the democrats? guest: i believe both parties are extremely negligent in their duty to protect america.
8:15am
i was one of the individuals who founded the rendition program in the 1990's. from the beginning, we knew in our hearts and minds the congress would sell us out. now most agency officers purchased professional liability insurance to pay for lawyers in case congress, now the department of justice, the sides to persecute people for defending america. yes, it is a terrible situation to be in. how we get out of it is another position. in terms of nancy pelosi, the idea that someone in her position was not greek -- briefed on what we were doing with covert actions is either a line on her part, or she has forgotten, or, as many congress
8:16am
people have done, they get their staffer to get the information, so they can say they were never briefed. certainly, her lack of knowledge is a dishonest statement. host: you mentioned you founded the rendition program. as the obama administration and in that operation? >> i think we still do select operations, but certainly is not at the top of the list. certainly, we do not have many places to put these people anymore. host: at the height, how many suspects would have been in one facility? guest: during my three and a half years that i ran the program, i do not think we move
8:17am
any more than 30 people. mr. tenet said that there were 100 -- i am not sure about the other 65. host: let me ask you about burton's role, not only about the abdulmutallab case, but more broadly. "the new york times" did a story about the time that this young man spent in britain, this development of terrorism and terrorist potential in britain. why did we not get that information from the british? guest: our relationship with the british is generally excellent. the visa problem was not him
8:18am
being suspected of being a terrorist, but he lied on his application. he said he attended a school that did not exist. it was more of an immigration problem. host: norfolk, virginia. go ahead. caller: i met you in the los angeles, i told you about that neocon website. when are we going to shed this is really yolk? guest: israel is certainly part of the problem, but not the only one. one issue is people are almost embarrassed to stand up. yes, civilians are going to be killed, but we have to do this
8:19am
to protect americans. the president of the united states is not the president of the world when it comes to defense. he has to put the safety of the u.s. first. you go back to this airline safety concern, and it is a genuine threat. the system must work to the best of its ability. the idea that we are putting our eggs in the basket of airliners when someone can drive across the border and never be seen, or take a boat from canada into buffalo, new york and never be checked, we are paying a close attention to only a small part of the problem. host: next phone call. missouri. caller: good morning what
8:20am
. what prompted me to call in was someones comment about is real and how they are supposedly our friends. that is a very asinine and narrow-pointed view. it was not us and strictly at our policies to israel that prompted 9/11. it is basically the culture of our nation that prompted 9/11. the fact that we indoors, have freedom of speech, freedom of religion, prompted a certain
8:21am
fraction of a radical religion to attack us. host: how much of a part did not play? caller: not at all. that is what the politicians want you to believe. we are being attacked because we have women in the workplace. if we were attacked by people of those grievances, it would not even rise to a level of legal nuisance. politicians do not want to talk about our support for israel. they do not want to talk about their abject failure of energy independence. they do not want to tell us our sons and daughters are dying in order to support tyrannies in places like egypt, algeria. until we start to talk about those things, we are fighting an enemy that does not exist. this is a precise enemy. there is no evidence, at least
8:22am
in the materials found, and that they are extremely angry and ready to blow themselves up because we have a mcdonald's and budweiser. it is a nonsense argument, but it is the argument given to us by the last the four presidents. host: looking at the terrorist activity in yemen, looking at the bombing of the uss coloradc. is the u.s. capable of launching an attack like this? guest: they have lived up to their word. more expensive to attacks each time they hit the united states. i think they are capable of it. the advantage for them, at the
8:23am
moment, it is that they have two armies on the ground that they can hit regularly. why attack america when you can bleed them overseas and cause the president to send 30,000 more troops? host: next phone call. caller: good morning. thank you for what you said about is real. why is it that the u.s. does not want to talk about is real? -- israel? when the country was very young -- you also mentioned oil. our country was almost to build on oil and gold. what happened to that oil and
8:24am
how come it cannot be resurrected now? guest: we simply went to the easiest route. we chose to buy it. i think we need to be careful about israel. israel has every right to do what it needs to do to defend itself. host: included in the purported nuclear program? guest: unfortunately, including that. however, we have no interest in the israelis and palestinians. that is a religious war in which we have no stake. why do we not talk about that? there are many crops that are extraordinarily influential in funding.
8:25am
i lost a job last year simply because i said that i suspect mr. obama would maintain traditional u.s. policy toward israel. that cost me a job and the jamestown foundation. i was a writer and there, published an article every two weeks. i said at a conference, he was doing the tel aviv two-step, meaning that he would not change policy to israel. that was enough to have the donors of the foundation indicates that i should be terminated. host: have you been able to find work in the think tank
8:26am
world since? guest: no, but i have not actively look to. you always talked about the israeli lobby power, and to see it aimed at me, it was educational, or losing the job. host: you write about the bomber that killed the eight cia workers. in practical terms, what does this mean for us in afghanistan, aside from all loss of life, what does the experience mean? guest: that base was essential in providing information to assist military operations.
8:27am
part of the ability of them to gather information was the abilitbased on the people that e there. other than the tragedy of losing these lives is probably a less able intelligence capability. we do not have a crop of intelligent people moving through the ranks. host: dante on the independent line. caller: let us talk about something you do not want to talk about. when they were plotting 9/11, they were here five years before. you were working with the cia then and you failed to detect them. could we talk about protecting mrs. clinton's run for
8:28am
presidency not wanting to go to war? guest: the cia, of course, does not operate in the u.s.. the agency is not a domestic service. i have to say, we were talking about those eight officers who died in host. at least two of them were people who gave mr. clinton knows opportunities in the 1990's. mr. byrne and was essential in -- brennan was essential in giving them a chance to protect america.
8:29am
instead, he wanted to trust the saudis to do the dirty work. i am just a bureaucrat, that is all i ever was. in terms of the people who risk themselves for america, we had our opportunities. bin laden should be in memory by now. i think he is alive to tell. in their culture, he would be celebrated. it would be hard to keep his death a secret. the other thing is we have a great deal of hard evidence. al qaeda has never tried to hide the death of one of their leaders, even in the midst of war. sometimes they talk about who will be assessing -- success and
8:30am
ing him. if i had to guess, i would say that he is on the northern side of pakistan. it is an area where the saudis have proselytized a lot, so it is congenial religiously, and it is extraordinarily remote. host: jack in san antonio, texas. caller: good morning. you talked about whether or not we should worry about countries in europe for democracies. do you agree with truman's decision to support israel from the beginning? would you care if europe was ruled by the nazis? you say the average resident could care less if there was a
8:31am
starbucks or mcdonald's in town the arabia -- saudi arabia. it seemed to me they fear western influence on their women more. guest: in terms of europe, at the time nato was formed, we had to do that, not because they were democracies, but because we had to defend ourselves from the soviet union. continuing to expand the nato alliance to create more iou's for the u.s. for war is a mistake. what i have supported truman's decision? absolutely. that said, no country has the right to exist.
8:32am
countries exist if they can get along with their neighbors, if they had a thriving economy, a system that is equitable. every country has a right to defend itself, including israel, but no country has the right to exist. right now mostly i am writing at antiwar.com. host: we are going to spend the next hour talking about was president joe biden. we are going to spend one hour with our guests talking about that. >> president obama and the first family are on the way to
8:33am
washington from hawaii. tomorrow, the president meets with his national security team following the attempted attack on christmas day. meanwhile, jim demint, who is blocking the choice of the president or the head of the tsa said that he is concerned about collective bargaining. he went on to say that what he wanted is a few hours of debate to fix the nation back on security and to get union politics out of the discussion. "the hill" reports that members of the iranian parliament opposed a request abysm of john kerry -- visit of john kerry.
8:34am
meanwhile, many are asking the supreme leader in iran to stop violence against protesters. at least eight people died across clashes last month. those are some of the latest headlines. >> coming up at 10:30 a.m., and the inauguration ceremony for annis parker, houston's first openly gay mayor. on "the communicators" -- dan the british prime minister questions returned as wednesday
8:35am
starting at 7:00 a.m. eastern. host: james traub is a contributing editor to "new york times magazine." he wrote a piece on june biden. joining us from new york right now, good morning. you wrote in that piece, instead of the role every bus president wants, but which only his best -- predecessor had enjoyed, to be the last voice in the room. so, one year later, is he the last voice, in terms of policy decision? guest: i think so. if there was anyone who was the last, he is in it. being the last was in the room in the bush administration meant
8:36am
that you could drive policy. bush came into office knowing almost nothing about foreign policy and ended up to be enormously suggestible. dick cheney was influential because he was talking to george bush. that would never happen in the obama administration. whoever is the last voice is still speaking to mr. obama, but this is an administration formed by the president. the one who matters the most depends very much on the sun deck, but within that circle, -- circle, but within that circle, mr. biden is very prominent. host: otherwise, hillary clinton, james jones. the vice-president, what is his
8:37am
main focus in foreign policy? guest: there is a focus -- meaning, what place in the world are the most knowledgeable about? i think beyond that, this source of influence is this sense that he is giving advice based on decades of experience in the world. he knows everybody, he has been everywhere. there is kind of a combination in and do biden of common sense shaped by ordinary experience, and a deep knowledge of people and places. when it comes to questions like how do we balance our relations with russia, what do we do in
8:38am
afghanistan? joe biden is an important voice. host: your piece came out a few weeks before the president announced a troop increase to afghanistan. do you have a sense of what role he played in that final decision? guest: i would distinguish between the contribution he made in the course of those many weeks, and the outcome. he had a role in forcing people to me examine the three options that general stanley mcchrystal had given mr. obama. they were convinced that it was inadequate, so in effect, they tasked jim jones to find a new set of options.
8:39am
not only that, but finding a new set of options that were the valuable. -- were valuable. mcchrystal gave the three scenarios. he knew that we could send 80,000 troops, which he would walnot happen. he really wanted 40,000 troops. it was from that that the delivered of process began. by and played a key role in insisting that we rethink all of the assumptions that the basis of policy. for example, we said we would train 250,000 afghan security -- could we actually do that?
8:40am
we talked about a civilian surge that would come along with the military. what can be accomplished with a government as corrupt and weak as them? i think his goal was to ask the hard questions. in some ways, make himself on pleasant. asking the questions that no one was completely sure of. that is perhaps why the process took so long. did the answers come out the way that joe biden wished they would? i would say no. the number of troops -- which will still be close to 40,000 -- is far more than he wanted. the expectations about nation- building, and i do not really
8:41am
know what we expected to on the civilian side of afghanistan, are still more ambitious than what joe biden wants. he does not think we can do it in the amount of thime that is going to gel with our military objective. host: the remains -- he remains suspect about the afghan government as well. guest: years ago when he met with hamid karzai at a dinner, someone said to him, mr. president, how are you going to address this problem of corruption? in fact, he said, what problem? joe biden, famously -- dinner
8:42am
was over -- he threw his napkin down and said, this dinner is over, and walked out. nothing has happened to defrost his relations with president karzai. both biden and richard holbrooke have terrible relations with karzai. host: james traub is with us to talk about the influence of joe biden. republicans, 202-737-0001. democrats, 202-737-0002. independents, 202-628-0205. you can send us an e-mail or tweet us at.
8:43am
next phone call. caller: i think our president is doing very well. if we wanted joe biden as president, he would be president. i like the idea that our president is intelligent. he is not a puppet, like the last eight years. i think he is doing what he is supposed to be doing. host: james traub? guest: i guess i would agree, in general. he believes he could be a good president. i believe this is almost a desirable alternative. he is a very knowledgeable, bright guy. i do not think he has those qualities of character.
8:44am
i do not mean to say that he has no character at all that americans look to have as their president. i think obama, for all the mistakes he has made, has proved that people have a deep sense of comfort up and we did with him, as a person. biden is more of a hyperactive person. -- deep sense of comfort with him, as a person. host: franklin, new hampshire. caller: mr. traub, i know you denounced the history of vice- president cheney, and you believe that he was just awful. if you would be kind enough to share with the audience what you
8:45am
know about the history of the vice-president? i would also like to know your opinion of what i would call ridiculous decisions of having trials in new york for ksm, releasing the terrorists from guantanamo. they do not even want to face the fact that we are at war. joe biden but it would be a great idea to dissect iraq into three pieces. what do you feel about the current president who has weigh less experienced than the former vice president ever had when it came to foreign policy? guest: there are a lot of questions there, but i will try to enter a few of them. why am i being so negative about
8:46am
dick cheney? i can give you a couple of answers. obviously, he had a deep-rooted sense that after 9/11, this nation was under threat. i think what he never grasped, though, is we live in a world where our actions are seen and judged. those actions affect our ability to get what we want in the world. when the world sees cheney arguing in favor of waterboarding and says that this is something that we have to reserve for ourselves even though other people consider it torture, that affects our ability to act. if america is seen as a bully to torture in order to gain its own objectives, that changes who we are, and who we are has an
8:47am
effect on our ability to act. if others feel that we are no longer committed to our human rights standards, that hurts us. i also think the national security deliberation process in the previous administration was futilely distorted by the way in which cheney, in effect, unleashed his own chief aides to ride roughshod over the process to make sure that he achieved the goals he wanted. by the way, something donald rumsfeld was doing at the same time. if you look up the process now, it is much more rational and much more likely to come to a good resolution. what you say about obama not having as much foreign policy experience as joe biden is right.
8:48am
what obama has, though, is a deliver tiff gift, which -- is a deliberative gift. whether or not you agree with it, they found out this process as well as they could. host: the chief of staff for vice-president biden said that "jamie was his own --che cheneys his own office of government." has vice-president biden
8:49am
benefited from the vice- president cheney's expansion of the office? guest: enormously. when i was hearing this theory, i thought, when the president decided to nominate sonia sotomayor, biden interviewed all the candidates. no one had done that before, until cheney. so biden, who was head of the senate judiciary, had a perfectly good rationale for doing something that no vice- president had done before, until the cheney. -- dick cheney. clearly, the role that joe biden played in foreign-policy is highly unusual for a vice president, except it pales in
8:50am
comparison to the role that dick cheney played. host: next phone call. independent line. caller: i think mr. trumaub is from the left, just like his publication. all the appointees that the president has given us are also on left. i think the vice president is a buffoon. our president is an intellectual fool. everything he has done is against free enterprise, and our country is going to turn into socialism. host: turn to his foreign policy purview. you are writing about nuclear
8:51am
nonproliferation. what role will he have in that? guest: that will be a big subject in the coming months. if you look forward a little bit and ask yourself what are we going to be talking about in february, march, april? the issue of nuclear non- proliferation will be enormously important. in february the president will introduce the nuclear posture of review, -- posture review, the strategy of the administration. and that is shaped by the president paused deconditioned -- president's the ambition to move to no nuclear weapons, but to do so as carefully and strategically as possible. within that world, biden has a
8:52am
couple of important issues. one is the cover hinton test ban treaty. the senate voted against it in 1999. the u.s. already does not test its nuclear weapons but is an important statement to the rest of the world, that we are willing to sign a tree that we so how far have declined to. it will take -- treaty that we so far have declined to. it will take a big push to get all the democrats and republicans. that will be biden's job. the other issue is gaining control over nuclear fuel. there will be a head of state- level summit in the spring that he will provide -- preside over
8:53am
that will shape global regulation and also probably to promote national legislation in various countries in order to control or nuclear fuel -- ensure nuclear fuel does not become available to rogue states. host: next phone call. caller: two things. number one, as far as trials compared to many of -- military tribunals, don't we and up giving extra legal powers to the government that we would not have constitutionally-given, so we lose the deficit -- the essence of what we are fighting for, democracy and the rule of law?
8:54am
secondly, as far as hamid karzai is concerned, we need to genuinely threatene pulling down of nato. he is blocking power control of afghanistan. we are better off without him. guest: two things. your point about how we damaged our own well-deserved reputation for caring about human rights -- this argument about closing guantanamo is driven by deep fears. it is troubling to me to see that we have become so afraid, the idea of moving these folks out of the facility, -- it does not seem like an act of national
8:55am
surrender. that is wrong. your point about karzai is fair, but you cannot make a threat if you are not going to go through with it. should we say to him, end corruption, govern better, or we believe? ? we leave? -- we leave? i think the president would say, on balance, that is not in our interest. host: next phone call. caller: i have a problem with labels, and i cannot get my head around them. i hear people refer to leftists, conservatives -- i have to give
8:56am
it some pause because i have to think about what that means. even when i call in, i have to think about that. i tend to vote on my conscience. based on that, here is my question. first of all, this gentleman who called from louisiana, he obviously fits into this stereotype that i have about the redneck and tell the date. i wish you would give people like that more time and question them more about issues that might expose where they are really coming from. i can see him making a noose while he is talking. where is he coming from? i think that we cashould do that instead of ignoring them.
8:57am
not talking about the guy from louisiana. with regard to joe biden, what is his relationship with hillary clinton? what are his political aspirations, and will they collide with the clinton's aspirations in the future? guest: let me start with the back half of the question, does joe biden been that he can be president one day? i did not asking that question. i do not know why. if i did, i am sure that he would have given some sort of have the reassurance. he never actually said in my political career will cease when i am done being vice-president. it will, but there is some part of his brain that believes that he will be able to run for president at 74.
8:58am
i do not think that will happen, but he is an ambitious person. how does this affect is a relationship with hillary clinton? not at all. these are very hypothetical relationships. they have practiced every tuesday morning at the vice- president's house. from everything i have heard, they have a warm relationship. they do not have radical disagreements. hillary could feel, at times, that biden is intruding on her territory. if you expand the role of the vice-president, you are moving on to someone else's territory. in general, this group of principals -- secretary of
8:59am
state, defense, national security, vice-president -- they seem to have a pretty smooth relationship. they have disagreements, but it is not personal, that's not affect the way of deliberations, the way that it did in the first term of george bush. host: and james traub talking about vice-president joe biden this morning. talk about the role in which he has been fairly prominent, at least on camera, about the oversight of stimulus spending. a bit outside of his foreign policy forte. guest: yes, and you do not hear too much about that anymore. host: what is that? guest: foreign-policy has turned out to be so consuming. my guess is when this started in february, march of 2009, you
9:00am
would have expected to see biden continuing to take domestic trips in order to promote the stimulus. i do not think he has done it as much now because he has had to take foreign trips abroad, and also he had this new iraq portfolio. so he has become a smaller player on domestic issues as he has become a bigger player on foreign policy issues. .
9:01am
my impression from the centers i talked to is that a lot of them think that biden is -- you know, he talks too much. the some of them think -- i do not know if they think he is a buffoon, as one speaker suggested, but the fact is, they think he is a knowledgeable guide and they like him. he is a likable person. i think he left behind good feelings in the senate. god knows he was in deep relationships there over many years. people like lindsay anderson on the republican side on the isle our people to me speaks to regularly. he spent a lot of time with them. when it comes to the
9:02am
comprehensive test ban treaty, that has been entrusted to him because he has been working as much as anybody to try to push that through the senate. host: next up is connecticut, anthony on the independent line. caller: you were talking about the first term of the bush presidency, and i totally agree with that because i read a lot of articles and magazines about vice-president jeanie's secret meetings with the energy task force -- vice-president cheney's secret meetings with the energy task force. how is joe biden similar to that? or is he knockenot? where does he come in as a vice- president? i do not see him as deeply in as cheney was in the first presidency.
9:03am
bush was on his own. i'm looking to the obama/biden presidency a little differently now because i see the vice president is more for the -- the president has more for the country than the vice president. do you agree with that? guest: in the first term, there was the feeling that there were different policies colliding with each other inside the bush white house and there was a rumsfeld camp, rather, rumsfeld himself and his aide. and there was biden -- and there was condi rice and her aides and, of course, colin powell. it was a mess. there were policies being made by a president who had far too much confidence in his own gut.
9:04am
he would make a good decision. if you read over the accounts of how a decision was made to attack iraq, nothing could have had a more radical contrast with where you saw in the process in afghanistan. you do not see these colliding policies in this administration. i do not think biden conducts these meetings with constituents in the dark in the way that cheney does. although, i suppose if he did i would not know about it. but everyone there in that administration, they are acutely aware of how dysfunctional this process began in bush's first term and they're very determined not to have that happen amongst themselves. and so far, it has not happened. host: you do writing your article about questions raised about the senator biden's votes on foreign policy, etc. you write that his church and
9:05am
has scarcely been perfect in the past. -- his judgment has scarcely been her third in the past. "when was the last time biden was right about anything, the military writer asks in his blog earlier this fall, apropos on his views aren't the current afghanistan. -- on his views on of the current afghanistan. where has he been wrong on some issues tomorrow these to the wisdom of the time? guest: self criticism is not a big component of biden posing nature. i should add that and neither is it of most senior politicians. i never asked about the gulf war vote. i did ask him at length about the 2002-2003 timeframe. he takes the view that i never thought about bush would conduct the war as recklessly and bosley
9:06am
as he did. which of course, is what -- recklessly and flawlessly as he did. which of course, is what so many say. that may be a bit disingenuous. i tend to think that a lot of democrats have pursued a trajectory toward biden's. they were very uncomfortable with the use of force in the post-vietnam era. he was very much a candidate against violence. his vote in the gulf war may have had something to do with that. then came the 1990's and a democratic president that had these humanitarian interventions in the balkans, somalia, haiti and elsewhere. suddenly they got this idea that force could be used wisely in some cases. but only in this kind of moralistic cents. when iraq came along in 2002, i think there were a lot of democrats, biden, hillary among
9:07am
them, and felt it was important to demonstrate that they believed force could be used not just in a humanitarian context like in bosnia or kosovo, but in clear defiance of our own national security principles. that must have driven so many of them -- in clear defense of our national security principles. that must have driven so many of them to vote in favor of this. so many of them have discovered unexpected dangers, that things do not work out the way you thought they would. now there is a hard-headed realist mentality you find among many of those same democrats. it is a long and bumpy road they have trouble. host: delaware is next on the republican line, good morning. caller: i am not a reagan republican, by any means. i have a greedier -- a great deal of respect for former president eisenhower. however, i must say the vice- president biden has been
9:08am
outstanding for our state. we have quite a few republicans are very complementary of him. those are the progressive ones. i must say that chaney, rumsfeld, i wish there was an estimate of how many millions these people made due to the wars they created. these were incredibly damaging to the u.s. and the world. somebody needs to look into their finances regarding how much money they made on the blood sweat and tears of our soldiers. guest: a delaware republican that sounds like a democrat. we will never know. i do not know. i think you can find plenty of other motives of those guys behalfs that for why they thought it was right to conduct the wars that they conducted and the way they conduct them. i'm not even raising the question and i honestly do not
9:09am
even know the answer. but even leaving that aside, it is clear that there have been few of the episodes as reckless as -- in the history of american foreign policy as the way in which we decided to go to war in iraq and the way in which we conducted ourselves after the initial phase of the war ended. host: james stroud, a writer for the "new york times" -- james drogba, a writer for the "new york times" where are you working on now? guest: i have a piece coming out in january, early february. before that, have a piece on west africa. i was just on new guinea and set a goal, in a place that few people could locate on the map. -- end sunocand senegal, a plact cuba could locate on the map.
9:10am
south american drug lords have discovered that if they route their shipments per liter west africa is less likely to be discovered. a big fraction of cocaine is now going to west africa. these are very weak, rickety, and in many cases it enormously corrupt governments that are just being threatened and in some cases destroyed by this cocaine traffic. it has become a national security problem for the west, not just that cocaine is flooding into europe. that is bad enough, but that this whole region is threatened by this tide of cocaine. that will come out toward the latter part of january. host: back to the calls, ohio, ray on the democrats line. ray has gone away. houston, texas, mike on the republican line. caller: i want every person to know that i am a republican. secondly, i would like c-span to know that you have too many
9:11am
seminar callers calling in as republicans and they are not. is pretty obvious that they do this. the last two callers calling in on the republican line acting like obama supporters and i find that insulting. as far as vice president biden, i think he is a good example of a career politician. he has been in the senate for 36 years and he is exactly the kind of politician that we tea party people want to eliminate from washington. we want people to go there and serve a term or true and get out. -- a term or two and get out. i am tired of it. i have no trust in government and it seems to me that too many people from the "new york times" go on and gabble about they're doing this and what a long and
9:12am
to read his career. i'm sorry, i want someone who knows what it is to pay their bills. we do not have the posture at all. host: mike, we will get a response. guest: first of all, i do not think biden has had a courageous career. meet the guy likes being a politician and clearly, he is good at it. the question is, is the value of the knowledge these guys have offset by what my considers there to be condemned the sunk into the world of power in washington. it is true. and republicans discovered this into their own grief as well, you get acquainted with power and you lose sight of what brought you there. it is a problem. but do -- but does that mean that we should be better off by having term limits, for example? i can only say the and i live in
9:13am
a state that has term limits for its public officials and i think it has been a disaster. there's almost no accumulated knowledge whatsoever. i would not want to have such a set of rules and not at all persuaded that having businessmen, as opposed to saying, lawyers who went into politics, we would get a better set of policies and what we have right now. host: barry on the democrats line, good morning. caller: do have some real concerns as a supporter. it is one thing to be the opposition and now that you find the realism of running the foreign policy, you also have this administration voting for $636 billion in the largest defense appropriations bill in the history of the world. and we have a drug trade in afghanistan, the undercount
9:14am
berlin and the room, because it seems to be funding the karzai government, the taliban, and al qaeda. nobody wants to talk about it. i understand you want to talk about the drugs come across the mexican border, and we should do something about that. the what about the war we are losing people in and where the drug trade is the main source of income in the country? guest: you know, nobody has a good answer to that question. i do not think that anyone is trying to avoid it, but in what is now, let's say, 30 some odd years of drug eradication programs that this country has pursued abroad, nothing has worked. god knows that we have a lot of experience with drug in revocation in latin america and south america. you still at -- the drug in eradication in latin america and south america. and you still have enormous quantities of cocaine being produced there. in afghanistan, we have tried to do crop substitution, crop the
9:15am
revocation. and we have somewhat gathered -- rebethe opium harvest is 20% oro below what it can has been in previous years. the long-term answer is that you have stated -- you have to have a decently functioning economy so that people can live without producing drugs. that takes a long time. if we think that war is worth conducting, we will have to conduct it even in the presence of an opium harvest. we can do what we can, but we are not going to wipe it out because no sensible farmer in a deeply impoverished place like that is going to agree to forgo a big cash crop like opium in favor of something that does not earn him very much money. it is a terrible problem. host: james traub with us talking about the role of vice
9:16am
president biden. guest: it is easier to stay in completed policies, but in terms of the state's -- is easier to say "in completed policies," but in terms of the state, if obama said "i insist on a freeze of settlements built by israel" that would in the end force a painful choice on the israelis and then they would say ok. prime minister netanyahu has agreed to a much lesser temporary halt in settlements. but that has hardly been enough to get the process of negotiations on the block. that is a failure. i do not know if there is an
9:17am
obvious better answer, but it was a failure. you could say it similarly with iran. obama hoped that if he adopted a less confrontational stance towards the regime in tehran, they would be more willing to enter into a negotiation process that would lead to their abandoning their nuclear enrichment program. they did not happen. host: butler, tenn., floyd on the republican line. caller: i'm a republican. you have a couple of callers in before saying the republicans were calling in and saying we are republicans and i cannot truthfully say -- i am a card- carrying republican all my life, 68 years old. and since 1994 i am disgusted with republican greed. i have watched this country go
9:18am
downhill since '73. education has fallen 48%. no jobs, you cannot tell me that wal-mart -- i have lived long enough to see wal-mart, the largest institution and employer in this country. the we are a joke. them wars are a joke. we're still building the pipeline. everybody denies it. i made that a a, a vietnam vet. -- i am a veteran, a vietnam vet. i'm more disgusted with the united states in 73 when our country created to create that to make profits. host: let's get a response. guest: what is fascinating to me
9:19am
this morning is the matter of argument we are having with republicans to each other. i think a lot of democrats have called in and disagreed with each other, but there is not that sense of arguing for the soul of the park -- party. it is striking to me to see republicans question each other as modified republicans. in a host: article about vice president biden, you write about host: in your article about vice-president biden you write about steve clemons of the new america of foundation calling them progress of guerrillas and democratic neocons. and who are these folks and how do their views differed? guest: i'm smiling because not long ago i happened to see susan rice, our ambassador to the u.n., and i cited her as an example of a democratic neocon. literally, i walked into a room and she turned to me -- her first words out of her mouth or
9:20am
"democratic neocon"? i said, ok, sorry. but are these meaningful distinctions? the first thing i would say is that there is relative ideological much of nighy in the administration. there are disagreements, but smaller -- ideological homogeny 80 in the administration. there are disagreements, but they are smaller. these labels are not applicable as they used to be. it is harder to find a right label. that distinction is a distinction between people who are basically focused on issues of power and of trying to manage power relationships as opposed to people who think of themselves as morally driven and are primarily occupied with humanitarian interventions.
9:21am
people who are more control and about trying to promote democracy and others that think that is a pipe dream. but those distinctions exist. we have one more call for you from georgia, ben on the independent line. caller: i like to your the people talk, but as far as biden goes, i do not think he needs to go. host: thank you, mr. trouble. we appreciate you joining us this morning. coming up next, we will talk to retired major john newman. he wrote a book back in the 1990's about j.f.k. and vietnam.
9:22am
we will look at the parallels between that and president obama and afghanistan. first, though, a news update from c-span radio. >> it is 9:21 a.m. eastern time. officials are reporting losses with suspected al qaeda militant outside yemen's capital where the british and u.s. embassies remain closed for a second day over threats of an attack. security if source -- security forces killed two, but most escaped the attack. one of the five americans detained a say the young men are not terrorists. they are jihadists. one tells the associated press that jihadists not terrorism. -- g. daud is not terrorism. they seek to get licenses for the men under pakistan's terrorism law. iraq owes the prime minister
9:23am
norah delmonte speaking earlier says his borrowing to seek punishment for the guards who killed 17 people at a busy intersection. it is the first reaction since the u.s. judge dropped the case against the 5 blackwater guards last week. the census bureau kicks off its multimillion dollar campaign aimed at giving the nation's residents to fill out there once a decade census forms. the buehrer will start mailing out the forms in march. -- the bureau will start mailing out the forms in march. >> coming up this morning at 10:30 a.m. eastern, the inauguration ceremony for annise parker, houston's first openly gay mayor. tonight on the communicators, rob ekstrand, the president of the internet corporation for assigned names and numbers.
9:24am
"the communicators" primetime tonight at 8:00 p.m. eastern on c-span2. and british prime minister's questions returns this wednesday live on c-span t2. host: retired major john newman is a professor at the university of maryland in the honors program. here to talk to us about j.f.k. and vietnam and more broadly the issue of afghanistan and president obama. a couple of weeks ago david obey was quoted in talking about these parallels between afghanistan and pick -- and vietnam. he was quoted as saying that "i came here in the house in 1969 and i determined that i would give nixon a year because he inherited the war. he said he bit his tongue for the war and he reminded the
9:25am
current president of the mistakes of the earlier war. i said the same thing, he said, to obama. what were the lessons that president obama should take from j.f.k.'s early experience in getting the u.s. into vietnam? guest: you hear the criticism in comparing afghanistan to vietnam and people say this is not vietnam. that is true in certain ways, but in many more ways it is just like vietnam and becoming more like vietnam. the biggest problems we had early on were a failed government from a corrupt central government. we had an army in south vietnam that we could not build large enough to contain the insurgency. this is occurring in afghanistan now. one of obama's goals was to increase the afghan army from about 95,000 to about 143,000 to the end of this year. if that does not happen, that will be a tip -- terrible
9:26am
failure. but we could not get them for 150,000 tonight -- to 170,000 in 1972. there are traders reporting that the afghan troops are not good fighters and not willing to fight. the terrain is very similar. we have mountainous terrain and we had joggles. this is not like iraq. this is not like the plains of normandy. but the biggest lesson is counterinsurgency. this is not a set piece battle. we are facing insurgents who were not fighting very well at first in 2002 2003. but they developed a strategy that eventually works. and when you do not have enough troops to contain an insurgency, this is what we are fast approaching at this time. host: you were a vietnam veteran? guest: i was in the jungles of
9:27am
thailand at the time the war ended. host: what did we do in -- that was right or wrong in terms of the viet cong? guest: 810 to one ratio to contain the insurgency. host: is that figure -- you need a 10 to one ratio to contain the insurgency. host: where does that figure come from? guest: you need half a force to protect the cities and pipelines and so forth. the draft is to fight the war. let's say there were 10,000 taliban, and doc would mean you would need 100,000 -- and that would mean you need 100,000 troops. there was a week to cbs last year or our commander now, general mcchrystal, in his recommendations to the president actually said we are going to need 500,000 troops. i have been waiting a long time
9:28am
to hear that number because i know what it means and how many bad guys are out there. that would mean we are afraid we are looking at possibly force of 50,000 or so. in the last year or two, we have seen some reports coming through the news media, according york and other intelligence organizations saying 10,000, 15,000. that is too big for the afghan army to handle. even if they can fight. what i see about -- what i see obama doing, which is what j.f.k. was trying to do, is to train the vietnamese to fight the war. the surge appears to me to be the beginning of a withdrawal, which you know has been stated to be beginning about 18 months after to give karzai and his regime enough time to stand up and fight for itself. we will see. host: we have our numbers on the
9:29am
screen and we will get to the calls in immelman. -- in a moment. you laid out a number of issues which have to be practical issues that have to be dealt with, but the fact of the matter is that you bring vietnam and it becomes a political issue as well. tell us how you view this as a political issue. guest: the lesson that we need to learn, i think, from john kennedy's experience is this. he was with -- he was withdrawing at the time. we have the classified documents. but he did not tell the truth to the american people why? for political reasons. he wanted to get it reelected in 1964. he had begun to order the
9:30am
withdrawal in 1963. host: and these would have been the trainer said you talked about. guest: 16,000 of visors, not combat troops. but my point is that obama should not repeat that experience. he is clearly going to do the best that we can in a given amount of time, but what we face the prospect -- if we face the prospect in the next year or two that it is not going to work and we leave and the respective of election, you tell the american people straight out what is going on. host: louise, republican line for jon newman. caller: i would like to say -- first of all, i want to go back to the 9/11 attack and that is why we are there. 9/11 happen because of our support for israel and conveyed on page 147 of the 9/11 commission report, it shows what
9:31am
motivated the 9/11 hijackers. there is a video about it, too. host: forward this to your question on afghanistan for john newman, go ahead. next up is forestville, md., democrats line. caller: i'm a democrat and i believe that this war is similar to vietnam. i agree with mr. newman to a point. i think that they should really take these soldiers out because they're only killing our soldiers pointlessly. and there is a -- just make sure they cannot come to the united states, simple as that. guest: 2 the previous caller, the significant events -- the
9:32am
significance of 9/11 is actually important, in a sense. unlike vietnam, we are fighting a war against someone who attacked us. that is the difference between vietnam and what is going on. it is true that the al qaeda folks are not there, or very few of them and they are crossed the border. if you look very closely at the campaign speeches for obama and the address at west point a few weeks ago, he has made it clear from the beginning of this is not just about afghanistan. this is also about pakistan. he could not have said it any better than during the campaign. he said, look, if musharraf does not do anything and we have actual intelligence, we will do it. host: in the context of vietnam, that have the echoes of the so- called domino theory? guest: difference here is that this is another country where the enemy has actually retreated to. it is not just a sanctuary. that is where they are now.
9:33am
they're not going to come out into afghanistan where we can get them. that is part of the problem. but yes, you have cross border sentries in cambodia and laos, and we have them here in pakistan and perhaps even north in use pakistan and tajikistan. host: next call from florida, good morning. caller: kennedy inherited from eisenhower and nixon and now obama has inherited from bush and cheney. what is the parallel doubt -- there? guest: there is a parallel. first, john kennedy refused to put in combat troops even the eisenhower told him to do so during the transition time. that became the defining aspect of kennedy posey vietnam policy, not to do that, to train the south vietnamese to fight.
9:34am
obama already inherits a war that is -- inherits a war that is already in combat mode. it compares to nixon in -- who inherited the war from johnson. going into 1969, we're coming out of vietnam. nixon took four years to do it, another 20,000 soldiers, american soldiers died during the withdrawal. the lesson there is, look, when it is time to come home, do not take for you -- do not take for five years to do it and lose 20,000 soldiers. host: tony on the republican line, go ahead. caller: i am not just some young kid listening to you. you compare it to what happened in 9/11. vietnam, we did not get on from the north vietnamese, did we?
9:35am
another thing, we had the flower children out there painting their faces and protesting. it is a lot different now. you have the majority of people at 9/11 supporting going over there. and north korea, you could nabhan them at the beginning of the war. it was not until later. guest: the caller has a good point. of all the similarities and differences between vietnam and afghanistan, the fact that those were the people who attacked us gave was a moral right, whether you agree with war or not, to go after those people. but that did not last long. the mowlawi attacked iraq, which did not attack us, -- the moment we attacked iraq, which did not attack us, took our eye off the
9:36am
ball and our resources away and it changed our standing in the world. what should have been finished, the job that should have been finished in 2005, 2006 in afghanistan was not, and it came back again. host: i have a comment from twitter. guest: what i know of president obama's statements about this is that the greatest threat, this is the president speaking, to our security is in no sanctuaries in western pakistan. that is what i think we are going to see in the next year or two. we're not talking about pakistan very much right now in the media, but if the president is true to his word, that is going to be news. host: with his of taking troops, he announced that at some point, some say 2011, there will be a
9:37am
consideration of the drawdown of forces from afghanistan. looking ahead, what you think that looks like? guest: there has been some debate within the administration about the timetable. obama specifically mentioned 18 months. that means 18 months in downstream, we begin marine troops out. secretary gates thinks that they could be adjusted and so on. but the stated policy is clear, we will increase the force. we will help or root out the taliban and helped stand up and afghan army and then we are coming home. host: maryland, john, democratic column. caller: good morning, dr. newman's. i was wondering with respect to the vietnam situation, there was an aspect of deception in the pentagon with respect to the reports on the advisers and the press of the war and the status of the fighting ability of the
9:38am
vietnamese army and the defection rates. i was just wondering, what do you see, if anything, with respect to possible deception between branches of government and the formation of policy with regard to afghanistan today? guest: this was a terrible -- terribly important lesson. there was, as i mentioned in the book, an extended time frame of not just a little bit of deception, but whole cloth lies of the size of the enemy, in this case the big pond, and combat operations going on in the field. -- in this case the viet cong, and, operations going on in the field. we saw this with the 9/11 commission. it's sort of hijacking of the intelligence process that really undercuts the ability of a
9:39am
nation to actually marshal the national resources necessary to meet national objectives. it is early in the administration and i hope we do not see anything like that again. host: what if president kennedy had decided to withdraw trainers, advisers from the four? guest: are these two options -- from the war? guest: there are these two options, you train them or you get out. as matt amera said in his papers, when the training session is over -- as mcnamara said in his papers, when the train session is over, it is over. the student has learned what he has learned host: next call from florida, go ahead. caller: the vietnamese war was more of a political war and this particular thing going on now is getting into where it is not just a religious war on their
9:40am
side. in is country who think it is a religious matter as well. i've spoken to people who are thinking of backing off a supporting israel and they keep quoting things out of the bible that say we are supposed to back israel. that is as bad as the muslims with the correne. host: was there an element of religion in the vietnam war? guest: it is a point of dissimilar to. 95% of the south vietnamese people were buddhist purity we have here this season -- the shiite and sunni conflict -- were buddhists. we have here this shi'ite and sunni conflict. and the taliban are sunnis, a deposed citigrousunni group thae
9:41am
child of pakistan and surrounded by support. it is not just religious. there is an egg -- ethnic breakdown as to prevent 45% pashtun, 25% of afghanistan are tadzhiks. the demographics are much different. 95% working in the vietnam and it here, you have to bring trouble differences. it is a much more complicated situation in afghanistan and vietnam. host: what you think al qaeda has learned from our experience in vietnam? guest: guerrilla warfare, for one thing. host: we do not know how to fight it? guest: no, that we could, but they learned how to fight as an
9:42am
insurgency. they were not doing so well in 2002, but they perfected a way to do it in about 2004 and 2005, that is, to attack in groups of 50 or 100 and immediately afterward to break up into small groups of five so that any counterattack afterwards it will not have a lot of casualties. host: you talked about fighting the soviets. at some point, did we have a cia trainers to the merging -- to the mujahedin? guest: we wish we had. we have a lot of people in pakistan, maybe some agents who got in, but we had very little control over what happened on the ground during the war. host: next caller, j., on the independent line. caller: i have a couple of
9:43am
comments and then i have a question for the guest. i personally think the karzai administration is hand-in-hand with many segments of the taliban. i think they ought to be. obviously, the karzai government is a cesspool of corruption and in debt -- ineptitude. now that the taliban and al qaeda know that we are leaving in 18 months, i really think all we have done is send over 30,000 bull's-eyes and they will die for no purpose whatsoever. i would like your guest opinion on one thing. this is the taliban uses opium and the traffic in opium and what not for a primary source of income, why don't we buy the opium crop? i don't think the farmers care what happens to it. they do not grow hair when.
9:44am
they grow opium. if we bought it, would that reduce their source of cash? guest: i'm not really certain with the economic impact would be. it might be useful to deny cash to the taliban, of course, but the picture might be a little more complex than that. with respect to the first comment about the sending the bull's-eyes there, i understand that and i really feel for the soldiers that are over there. the night before last, my son returned from the 10th brigade -- from the third brigade, 10th mountain division. he spent two tours over there and we are happy to have him home safe and sound. but you cannot expect obama on his first day of taking office to simply cut and run. he took a long time to review the policy and he got a lot of heat for that. i think it was the right thing to do. it took kennedy a year to decide what he was going to do before he drew the line in the sand, no combat troops, advisers only.
9:45am
host: did he increase the number of advisers? >> the significantly -- significantly. obama has taken a few months to review the strategy. as i understand it now, our policy is to bring the troops home after this surge. host: i want to get your reaction to a weekend editorial by the year digit foundation. if the war in afghanistan starts going south, president obama will parolee quick rub and risk getting bogged down. he ran up the troop commitment all the same period in 1968, the north vietnamese launched a
9:46am
major offensive during the tet holiday. they lost that battle that they, but the fact that they were able to mount a large-scale offensive -- and became a common view and johnson's presidency fell to ashes. guest: that is the problem here. we cannot win this militarily. general mcchrystal knows we are not going to get 500,000 troops of there. the mere fact that he said it means he understands this is not a militarily winnable situation. we not have a national resources to go fight. host: you said you welcomed your son home back from his second tour. with your views on that, how hard is it to hear his take on afghanistan? he certainly must retain a fair amount of optimism on things. guest: it is interesting you ask
9:47am
that question. he and his colleagues in the third brigade of the 10th mountain division, the toughest time for them is to be very careful in the use of military force. they are very aware of the local population and the taliban are always hiding. they will shoot and then go hide amongst the kids. it is a tough place to be in when your colleagues are taking rounds and the people shooting are hiding amounts the kids. our troops are up there are keenly aware and is terribly important that the act honorably. host: any chance that he will go back? guest: he is actually getting out of the army. he has done six years, two tours. host: brenda from georgia, republican line. caller: i would like to take your boy back to when the british were in afghanistan when
9:48am
russia came into afghanistan from all of these countries got together and were trying to get a hold of the war -- of the oil in afghanistan. they came back that hossein was one of the biggest ones to come into power at this time. and they did all of us try to get a hold of the oil. the united states people need to stop and think, yes, this was about oil, to keep it out of hands of these countries that wanted to get that oil. they need to be thankful to george bush that he had the guts and the sense to get rid of hosseihussein and his murderers. the iraqis can live today in peace without these murderers. guest: i would just say this,
9:49am
lee, that is going to war in a country is the intent of the president, you put that before the american people and have that discussion. but you do not tell them that they have weapons of mass destruction that they are going to use next week or that they were behind 9/11 to do it. host: an e-mail from new jersey. guest: he is our right. once we reach that sort of tipping point, of the longer we stay, but more people die. you have to have the political courage to come out when there is no way to win. host: to the best of your information and knowledge, the size of the forces of the outcry in afghanistan, let's combine al
9:50am
qaeda and the taliban, the size of the u.s. forces of waiting? guest: and i have been to a lot of press conferences and over and over again officials are not giving us numbers. what i have seen our figures like 10,000, 15,000, in that range. if you look at obama's plan to increase their troops to about $140,000 -- 140,000 troops or more, that tells me about 14%, 15%. host: next call from indiana. caller: isn't this so-called war these days, the is insurgency, s in this moving toward the same type of war that vietnam was? i hear that they are throwing
9:51am
around on the table euthanasia, the draft is going to come back possibly. what they're saying, the afghanistan soldiers are not training and it is not enough. it seems to me at this point, you've got to start looking at things from all angles. because you just sent 30,000 troops over there. guest: i think that he is right. there are those similarities. and we talked about them already today. and the insurgency is growing. and that happened back in vietnam, too. those are the police allergies.
9:52am
host: about 10 more minutes with john newman, 21 years in army intelligence. the book you wrote in 1992, a "j.f.k. and vietnam." is it going to be republished? guest: i think they can get it online. but right now i own the rights to it and when i decide to of david, we will do it again. host: north carolina, go ahead. caller: i have a two-fold question drawn by an air force veteran, although i did not end up in afghanistan have any point. my question is more about the terrain. i wonder if you have anything to comment about the differences of terrain between afghanistan and vietnam. i would agree with the earlier comments by colin powell that we should have come in with afghanistan -- to afghanistan
9:53am
with overwhelming force. i was wondering how that would play out if given a second chance. guest: good question. it is different, but similar in the sense that it is terrible terrain. whether we are talking up the dense jungles and marshes of vietnam, it is not the type of place you can send a tank into or an armored personnel very easily on the bridges in afghanistan. -- the richesridges in afghanis. about general powell oppose the idea of coming in with overwhelming force, the initial surge -- about general powell's idea of coming in with a warming force, the nestle surge -- the initial surge had that idea. there were small pockets and enclaves and we just never finished the job and we should have.
9:54am
because now they are back in spades. they're back again. i agree that we should have made the decision to go in with more resources than we did, but we did not because we were fighting a much larger war next door in iraq. host: if you're right in. guest: there are 40 countries produce bidding in the international security forces in there. maybe, -- that are participating in the international security forces in there. maybe, not as much as we would like to see, but they are participating. but i would agree with the caller, yeah, vietnam was a
9:55am
place -- it was not a training ground for communist insurgents all over the world to come to, and that is an aspect here that we are worried about. just north of afghanistan we have was pakistan, turkmenistan, and tajikistan. these countries are ruled with very oppressive leadership in place. and we are in bed with them because we want those supply routes. there greek -- critical to us. but it is a greek -- a breeding ground for al qaeda in those countries. in 2008, foreign fighters were coming into afghanistan to support the taliban. this is a problem that is getting worse. host: a couple of more calls for john newman. we will hear from cambridge, mass., philip on the independent line. caller: i would like to give some credence to the ratio of 10
9:56am
to one debated earlier on what it takes to take care of a guerrilla war. when i was a young officer in the french army in nigeria, we were facing about date-pacing about 50,000 -- we were facing about 50,000 had we did not have enough troops. we knew very well what was going on. and we lost. i am a u.s. citizen out and i'm extremely concerned that we are not putting enough power behind the war. and the possible outcome is total failure. guest: the point i made at the beginning of the show. that is the no. i watched for every day. how many bad guys are out there? there comes a point when you know the afghan army cannot grow
9:57am
to a point where -- to defend themselves, that it is pointless to say. -- tuesday. host: -- then it is pointless to stay. host: are all the generals that have been leaders over there, are they all vietnam veterans? guest: i do not know. host: with their command decisions in vietnam the commanders in afghanistan should take a way to do differently than we did in vietnam? guest: i'm not so sure about that. i disagree with some of the things that general westmoreland did in terms of reporting intelligence to the president and the public, but i think in one sense i agree with him that a lot of the decisions were made by political leaders. in particular in vietnam, to go in with combat troops because we thought the sign of soviet conflict was such. china would not cooperate and give their realigns to the soviet union's -- we thought that china would not cooperate
9:58am
and give their real lines to the soviet union and that turned out not to be true. that was a political decision made by the national leadership. obama is trying to avoid getting into a similar stalemate in afghanistan host: one more call for you. lowell, mass. danielle on the democrats line. caller: from my own experience, i opposed the war in vietnam and probably attended almost every demonstration in new york city at the time. but after that, i traveled to india on a spiritual journey and spent some time in afghanistan when women were still doctors and teachers. it was the tail end of four years of peace there. -- 40 years of peace there. one thing you will not be aware of is that the taliban only has
9:59am
a 4% to 5% approval rating in afghanistan. they saw what was happening there. i followed events there since then, you know, in the 1980's we should not have left and we left a terrible situation. we cannot repeat it again, because if we do, there will be a lot of deaths in afghanistan. the way that obama is doing this is very different from bush, who left the situation in the that -- in benign neglect, similar to what his father did. the people are -- our people, we are trying to get in more civilians to agriculture. i think it has been